Tag Archives: fiction

Y for Yearning for the end of The Command

You need to join The One Minuters now,” The Voice spoke into Beth’s ears.

You both catch up, I need to go out for a while,” Beth told Keith and Quincy.

Yoghurt – mango flavoured, X-Men comics and Ben-Ten stickers, I know you are going out to get those for me, right?,” Keith counted the things Beth had promised to get for him a few weeks ago.

Yes, of course! And the comics were not in the list!” Beth pretended to be normal though she was very worried.

Yet again, all the One Minuters assembled.

You see, Tim seems nervous now so I would need you to visit his memory a little while ago. Just let him decide to take a walk on the beach after passing through the X-amine frame so that he doesn’t hear that the lock was lodged in his duodenum,” A Minute assigned the task to Holly knowing that a worried Tim could be an ideal host for The Command.

Yesterday, I managed to scatter the particles of that key in the geostationary orbit, should I do the same with the lock? But how do I get it out of his system, won’t he bleed?” Beth asked A Minute.

Young woman, we can’t have the lock and the key in the same orbit. You might have to go farther in space and scattering the lock into a thousand pieces means there would require a lot of energy. It’s risky. We need another idea!” A Minute looked at the others.

Yeah, I’ve got one. Dev, could you convert that lock into the tiniest possible water drop and then transform it into water vapour? It’s already noon and quite hot, we can light a fire below the drop and take no chances! What do you say?” Evelyn was glad that she could do more than just making people fall asleep. 

Yes, I can do that. But how to get that lock out from Tim’s body?”

You know, I can gaze at the X mark made on him strongly enough so as to extract it but pulling it out would mean cuts and blood, we don’t have a surgeon amongst us,” Beth was worried about Tim.

You humans think too much. Leave it to me, I’ll heal Tim. Now hurry up with this brilliant plan before Tim feels the pressure to, you know, do the thing you do in the mornings to remove unnecessary things from your digestive system. We don’t want to reach that stage!” A Minute tried to be funny to make the One Minuters feel at ease.

Yuck!” they all uttered in unison after which A Minute stretched a second long enough for the team to complete the task while Evelyn ensured that Tim stayed deep asleep.

Yearning to put an end to The Command, the team gave its hundred percent: Beth gazed at the X mark on Tim’s skin, the lock popped out making a deep cut on his body, Dev focussed and transformed it into the tiniest possible droplet, then raised it high in the air, Holly had ignited a piece of wood to serve as torch that she held right under the droplet before it fell and in to time it transformed into water vapour and disappeared in the air!

Yes, we did it! We did it!” the One Minuters started jumping and hugging with joy until they realised that Tim must be bleeding.

You did it guys!” Tim joined them without any blood or injury mark on his body and they all looked at A Minute!

Young humans, don’t look surprised! What is that saying that you all have? A stitch in time saves nine! What do you think the Time is doing in that proverb! And by the way, it was originally – ’A stitch by time made everything fine’. Long story, I’ll tell you some other day!” A Minute started laughing and so did everyone else.

The story endsfor now! Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence (paragraph in case of long conversations) of this chapter of the story with the letter Y (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 25th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ XY ➡ Z

Thank you for reading and encouraging me to write better and often!

X for Xylophone, Xerosis and X-amine

Xylophone musical toys can be really irritating when kids play them non-stop just making noise and not music.

eXcept for the morning after the victory over The Command when Keith’s noisy music made everyone feel better knowing that he was safe and just being a child.

X-Men are so cool Ma! Did you know there is an army of superheroes? I watched the movie with dad and mom, but mom forwarded some scenes. She said I am too small to watch so much fighting. I will be seven now, can I watch the full movie now?” Keith was too excited to share everything with Quincy; he had no previous memory of her as she had left when he was just two years old, but Beth and Rohit always spoke to him about how much she loved him and that one day she would be back.

X-Men are my favourite superheroes too! But your mom is right, you need to grow up a little bit to watch the entire movie. Ma and mom will always be in the same team you know, so don’t try to act smart and convince me to allow you to do something that she doesn’t allow!” Quincy was happy to lead a normal life again with Keith and the family.

X-Women… you two are X-Women teaming up against me! Maybe you were gone all these years doing superhero things! Are there more superheroes in your team? Tell me, tell me now!” Keith advanced towards Quincy posing as Wolverine while everyone around laughed.

eXcuse me! Maybe we are a huge team, but superheroes never reveal their secrets! Right Quincy?” Beth was glad that they were all together and Keith had no idea about all the real superhero stuff that happened over the past few days.

eXtra intake of the COASTED (Carrots, Oats, Almonds, Spinach, Turmeric, Eggs and Dates) diet in the morning had re-energised the One Minuters and everyone, except Beth, had left for a deserted beach before Keith woke up.

Xerosis curtis happens due to epidermal water loss and it is making Tim’s skin dry and flaky. Since he had swallowed the tiny bubble form of The Command when it was most powerful, it might be depriving him of body fluids. We have a special examination process, like your X-rays, to detect if The Command still exists in Tim’s body. If so, it needs to be extracted before it’s too late,” A Minute was concerned about Tim as his skin was changing rapidly.

X-amine, a glowing rectangular large frame-like structure appeared in front of them and Tim was asked to pass through it.

X-amine showed results instantly within its frame: a tiny translucent lock was blinking like a yellow light in Tim’s duodenum.

X was marked on the exact spot on Tim’s body as instructed by The Voice and it was decided to call Beth – they needed her gaze again!

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence (paragraph in case of long conversations) of this chapter of the story with the letter X but in 3 instances I used eX instead coz it has the same sound as X and there weren’t enough X words that fit my story (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 24th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Z

T for Tricks and Tears

The One Minuters reached the university within a minute and The Command’s presence was obvious with a huge bubble floating over the playground. 

Together, they repeated the act they had done earlier at the Andheri stadium – Dev made the bubble as small as a pea, Beth moved it towards Tim who swallowed it and everything was calm again.

This triumph over The Command somehow felt rather easy and while the rest assumed that it was due to their intensive training, Beth wasn’t so certain. 

Take a look around, there’s no damage as such. Everything is in its place as if The Command didn’t intend to cause destruction here,” Beth knew something was amiss. 

That’s when everyone started carefully looking around the playground. 

The halogen lights cast shadows of all the trees and poles around when suddenly Evelyn noticed a woman hiding in the distance. 

To everyone’s surprise, while everything around her had shadows on the ground, hers was missing! 

The Voice was prompt in reacting, “That must be Quincy working on the bubble effect while her separated shadow, under The Command’s influence, must be near Keith. The Command is now using two hosts – Quincy as one and her shadow as another. We must rush.”

They were clearly tricked into leaving Keith with only Rohit at home. 

Then, just as they were about to be transported back home by A Minute, they noticed something very strange. 

Tears, streams of them, rolled down Quincy’s eyes, flowed on to the playground forming some symbols, as if she was trying to communicate something. 

Time seemed to have halted temporarily when Beth’s phone rang. 

Told you it might come for Keith, rush home… Now,” Rohit had never sounded so scared. 

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter T (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 19th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ ST ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

Q for Quincy’s disappearance and questions galore

Quitting was not an option anymore for the One Minuters as after the damage caused to the stadium, The Command had destroyed an under-construction flyover, a supermarket and a local bus stop. 

Questions regarding The Command were finally answered and the One Minuters were told that the evil power was like a parasite that fed on anxiety, fear and sorrow; it had never killed anyone though.

Qualifying perfectly as a host to it was little Keith, not just because it was easy to make a child believe in certain things but also because of the history.

Quelle histoire?” Evelyn popped the question in French as she had been preparing for her upcoming foreign language certification. 

Quicksand engulfing her would not have worried Beth as much as hearing The Voice say, “Well, you see, The Command had been using Keith’s mom Quincy as a host since she was seven years old!” 

Quietness can often be more disturbing than noise; everyone gave her space as a shocked Beth quietly tried to make sense of it all.

Questions, a lot of them, had to be answered by her ex-husband and Keith’s father Rohit – Did Quincy disappear because of The Command? Did Rohit know about the superpowers and the looming danger? Did he part ways with Beth to keep Grace away from all of this?

Quincy was always a mystery as Rohit never shared much about her except that she left them after Keith’s first birthday.

Quite maturely, while Beth was lost in her thoughts, the younger One Minuters were marking the places destroyed by The Command on a map and that’s when they noticed that the route created by those places led to the farmhouse mentioned by Beth – the one where Keith stayed. 

Thanking my AtoZ writing group of women who helped me sail through the Q post today – Afshan, Deepa, Ranjana, Jayashree, Renu, Hema and Aparna 😇

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter Q (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 17th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ PQ ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

O for One Minuters

One Minuters – the name for the team of superheroes was agreed upon. 

Owing to the power of A Minute who could magically stretch a minute into hours, days and even months for them, the One Minuters could complete the toughest challenge within a minute. 

Over the next four weeks, they were trained to enhance their individual superpowers and work as a team. 

Of all the One Minuters, Beth had the ability to not only move anything with her gaze with a force and in the direction she desired, but she could also use the powers of the other four while they stayed in a paused mode. 

One month had passed and on July 1, just as they completed training, a strange thing happened. 

Out of nowhere, a stadium-sized bubble-like thing descended over the stadium.

Otherwise soft-spoken and calm, A Minute quickly ordered the One Minuters to hold hands and stand in a circle as it floated over their heads for a while and started rotating with an unimaginable force. 

Oddly enough, all the stadium seats got lifted up and started moving in circular motion, like things trapped in a whirlpool, and fell down together with such force that huge cracks were created on the ground. 

Okay, The Command has arrived and it knows that we are getting ready. Use your powers now,” The Voice ordered. 

Obeying the orders, Dev, who could change the form and size of things, focussed on making the bubble as small as a pea while Beth tried to move it towards Tim who could consume anything. 

One minute later, that actually felt like one hour to them, Tim swallowed a pea shaped bubble and everything was calm again. 

Obviously, the earthquake-resembling vibrations and damage awoke the security guards, but before they could spot the One Minuters, Evelyn used her superpower – she started singing to make them fall asleep. 

Oblivious to the fact that using their powers to this extent could deprive them of their energy, and that it’s not over yet, the One Minuters started cheering. 

Okay, that was brilliant, amazing teamwork! But unlike the movies, superheroes lose a lot of energy especially after their first encounter. Let’s get you all some real nutrition,” A Minute sounded proud and caring! 

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter O (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 135th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.

Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

N for Newbie in the town

New day, new beginnings, the amateur superheroes were excited as their training was to begin that Saturday night. 

Normally, the Andheri roads were busy even at midnight, but on that night, all the roads leading to the stadium were surprisingly deserted and they all reached much before time. 

Naturally, they started getting to know each other better as they had come to terms with the fact that they will be fighting evil powers together. 

Name, we got to have a name for our team, you know like the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Justice League… Do you have any ideas?” Tim was most excited as his childhood dream of becoming a superhero was coming true. 

Not now Tim, let’s first see if we can trust The Voice. I mean, we can’t even see it, what if it’s just trying to manipulate us? What if The Voice is the force that’s actually evil?” Holly was being practical as always. 

Not generally the one to go off topic, Beth shared something that had been bothering her – how would they manage to train every single night and then go to work all day, and in her case, even take care of a kid; she couldn’t disappear every single night leaving her daughter alone! 

Now, we will just need one minute of your time to train daily and you won’t have to travel anymore. It’s 11.59 pm, let’s go inside,” The Voice was heard again as the stadium gates opened and the security guard in the cabin suddenly fell asleep. 

Nothing could surprise them anymore, or so they thought, until the five superheroes were introduced to a close friend of The Voice – A Minute. 

Neon dots, very tiny and hundreds of them, started emitting from each of their watches, the dots came together to form a one foot long glowing arrow, like the minute hand of a watch. 

Not to worry friends, I’ll just take a minute of your time, actually time is me, so um…my time… oh this is always so tough to explain. So basically, I am A Minute and I can stretch a minute of your time to many minutes, hours and days, and when you are done it will look like only a minute has passed. Confused? Well sometimes even I get confused,” A Minute spoke in a sweet voice of a woman. 

Next time when I say 59 seconds, don’t make fun of me. A Minute is the one who likes being funny, not me. The 60th second is used to make a minute, the 60th minute makes an hour, she can’t come until 59 numbers have passed, whether it is seconds or minutes.” The Voice was very clear this time. 

Now, let us tell you the name we picked for your team, I am sure you will love it,” A Minute had a very peppy voice and thankfully, she was visible! 

Newbie in the town really put everyone at ease and they couldn’t wait to hear their superhero team name!

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter M (I have managed to do the same from the letter B post)! This is my 14th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

L for Less words, more work

Literally, each of the five people with superpowers in the room felt a tingling sensation in their right arm, but this time it wasn’t painful. 

Lights in Beth’s house suddenly dimmed except the one at the dining table where they all gathered. 

Leading the group was The Voice that reminded Dev of his favourite childhood movie Mr. India in which the protagonist could decide to become invisible and only his voice could be heard. 

Let us know everything about you first, who or what exactly are you and why do you keep disappearing?,” Dev had had enough instructions from The Voice over the past few years and he thought with his new team’s support he could finally persuade it to tell them everything. 

Less words and more work would get us somewhere child. I will tell you about myself when the time is right,” there was no way The Voice took instructions from the youngsters. 

Lurking around was The Command, the evil force that everyone had just sensed, so listening to The Voice made more sense. 

Luckily for Beth, The Voice began with clarifying certain things: Some hereditary traits can skip a generation and neither of the two powers could affect a child below seven years of age. 

Little Grace was just four years old but Keith was going to turn seven in three months; Beth looked worried as The Voice had mentioned him. 

Let me help you explore the full potential of your powers, especially Beth, since I haven’t trained her yet. Tomorrow, I will tell you where to come and we shall train every night. We have until September 1 to prepare,” The Voice was very clear with its instructions. 

Letting a voice train her for superpowers which she wasn’t completely aware of yet – Beth wondered if all this was really happening and then something occurred to her. 

Last day of their training was to coincide with Keith’s seventh birthday so she asked The Voice if he too was to get some superpowers, since he was mentioned earlier. 

Long pause ensued after which they heard The Voice say, “The Command intends to have Keith under its control, it is waiting for him to turn seven!”

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with L (I have managed to do the same from B to K posts)! This is my 12th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge).
Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ JKLM ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

H for Heroes of The Voice and Halwa Recipe

Hugging Grace goodbye, Beth thanked Rohit for agreeing to spend the long weekend with their daughter.

He always looked forward to take Grace to his farmhouse where his parents stayed as he barely got to spend time with her on weekdays; the father daughter duo loved playing catch, petting animals and gardening together.

Hi, Daphne here, please check my mails and call me, please,” Beth received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number as soon as Rohit and Grace left, and immediately regretted reading it.

How could Daphne have her new number, Beth wondered and finally checked her mails that kept saying the same thing: The Voice needs you, we all need you, please get in touch, we have arrived in Mumbai!

Her life was just getting normal and she now felt that everything was going to change soon as suddenly, after six years, she felt that weird pain in her right arm again.

HELP! She screamed and cried as this time the pain was unbearable and for much longer than the previous episodes.

Her entire body felt like it was on fire and at the same time on an ice slab; she knew she had to meet Daphne even though she had disappeared when she needed her the most.

High Time Cafe, Andheri Link Road, 5 pm today, Beth replied, though until ten minutes ago she had absolutely no intention of meeting her.

Hoping that she would meet just Daphne and her daughter Evelyn at the cafe and get some answers, Beth was surprised to see three more youngsters along with them.

Heading towards them, Beth felt strange; she was all set to be rude with Daphne, but that wasn’t possible in the presence of these youngsters.

Half-an-hour later, Beth was overwhelmed with the overload of information and in complete disbelief as she learnt that she might, well, still have superpowers.

Holly, Dev, Tim and Evelyn, all in their early twenties, had experienced the same pain in the past, had heard The Voice and were instrumental in making that turbulent plane steady – something that until that moment Beth felt she had done singlehandedly.

Heroes, we all are superheroes Beth, believe it or not! The Voice will speak to you soon but if The Command tries to make you do anything, just don’t do it… it is the dark power, very dark, very evil and it is coming for you,” Dev spoke with such conviction that Beth got goosebumps.

Halwa recipe, quick please… Keith wants to eat it now and he is throwing tantrums,” Beth read the message from Rohit; she had completely forgotten that his six-year-old son from his previous girlfriend wanted to eat the halwa she always sent for him.

Heat half a cup of ghee, add a pinch of green cardamom powder, add one cup fine semolina and roast on low flame. When almost pinkish brown, add some raisins, 1.5 cups of water, half cup jagggery powder, keep stirring until it all comes together. Add a tablespoon of ghee, mix well and you’ll know when it’s done.

Having sent the halwa recipe, Beth looked at all those hopeful youngsters, complete strangers, who had travelled all the way to Mumbai from different parts of the world to help her with ‘something big that was about to happen’.

Hide, run, escape – her mind said to her but then she saw tears in Daphne’s eyes.

Hell yes, I am in, tell me what to do!” Beth couldn’t let these youngsters fight alone.

The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with H, the letter of the day (I have managed to do the same from B to G posts)! This is my sixth post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.

I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:

A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ FGH ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

G for Ghosts of the past

Before I proceed with the story, I would like to thank Aparna Nayak for helping me weave the gluten part in the story. This point onwards, the story has some parenting / motherhood angles so will also cater to the main theme of this blog – Mom and Ideas. I hope you enjoy reading.

Go to sleep now Grace, we can finish the painting tomorrow,” Beth told her four-year-old daughter again.

Gone were the days of being insanely adventurous, going on a solo trips, trying some super powers… all Beth needed now was a peaceful nap.

Grace’s gluten intolerance was not making things any easier and Beth spent any free time researching about it so that Grace could enjoy food like all other kids.

Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, finds its way in the junk food that kids love – pizzas, breads, cakes, etc.  wherein extra gluten is added in form of powder to increase the strength, rise, shelf life, and texture of the baked goods, which are not good for their health.

Google would tell her everything except where she could find a treasure of gluten-free foods for kids.

Getting your little ones to eat is like climbing the Everest, but when Gluten sensitivity comes into picture, it’s a whole new challenge!

Grace finally fell asleep as Beth added some gluten-free items to her online shopping cart and decided to check her mail before calling it a day.

Gmail showed her 20 notifications of which three emails were from Daphne – someone who had disappeared when Beth needed her the most.

Getting no replies from her and The Voice despite several desperate attempts had left Beth disturbed for many months after the flight incident six years ago.

Gradually, she had stopped thinking about it and a year later she fell in love with Rohit, an Indian entrepreneur, married him and moved to India.

Grace was born a year later and the couple separated after her second birthday; there was no drama, they realised that they were just not compatible and decided to raise their daughter together in Mumbai.

Going forward, her focus would just be her daughter, Beth had decided unaware that six years after the incident the ghosts of her past would come knocking at her door.

God knows why she is contacting me after so many years, should I read the mails or just delete them, Beth was confused.

———-
Thanking Aparna for the inputs on gluten! She is also participating in the A to Z challenge with wonderful posts that you can read here.

This story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this part of the story with G, the letter of the day (I have managed to do the same from B to F posts)! This is my sixth post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.

I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ FG ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

F for Fifty Nine Seconds

Frightened to the core, Beth slowly removed her hands from her ears; the turbulence didn’t shake her but the unknown voice that only she could hear made her panic.

Focus Beth and listen to me, this is not the time to panic, you can save this plane in exactly fifty nine seconds,” the commanding voice instructed her.

Fine, tell me what to do,” Beth had no idea how these words came out of her mouth as her co-passengers glanced at her and then ignored her as they were panicking too.

Focus on the tip of the airplane wings that you can see from the window, just start counting till fifty nine as you try to lift the tilted wings with your gaze, blink if you want but don’t look elsewhere or you’ll have to start again. Focus on making the plane parallel to the ground,” there was a strange convincing power in that voice.

Fear gripped her as she could hear that invisible person or thing speaking right into her ears, but she thought that there was no harm in trying as all she had to do was gaze, and so she did.

Figuring out what that voice was and what was happening to her was crucial, but then she had to be alive for that and so she decided to pay attention to the voice; she could get the answers later.

Fifty nine seconds later, suddenly, the plane was stable with no turbulence whatsoever and people were relaxed, all but one person.

Fabulous, so maybe I did it, now tell me what I want to know,” Beth didn’t care that she probably saved all the passengers and the crew, all she wanted was answers.

Fasten your seatbelts dear passengers, we will land shortly, and we apologize for the turbulence,” the pilot announced after a few minutes.

Flight attendants, fellow passengers, cranky kids… Beth could hear all voices but the one she wanted to.

Frustrated, she headed home and tried finding that voice but in vain until she finally dozed off muttering, “Please talk to me, I am going crazy.”

———-
The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this part of the story with F, the letter of the day (I have managed to do the same from B to D posts)! This is my sixth post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story.

I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:


A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

E for End it now!

Eager to get answers, Beth agreed to give her hair sample for DNA analysis to a complete stranger.

Email IDs were exchanged, Daphne promised to stay in touch and soon the final boarding announcement was made.

Even though Beth loved window seats, she had a lot to think about and for the first time ever, instead of gazing at the clouds, she closed her eyes and thought about her conversation with Daphne.

Evelyn, Daphne’s eighteen-year-old daughter, had experienced the same pain in the arm for the first time almost two years ago, incidentally at the same restaurant where Beth had experienced the sting.

Easy girl,” Chef Jean had said to her, “there’s no scorpion here, it’s all in your mind!”

Embarrassed about her screaming as the entire restaurant noticed and her friends mocked her, she told about the sting to her mom.

Either she is being dramatic or she just wants my attention, Daphne had thought earlier; however, her world shook later as she witnessed a few weird incidents.

Everything what Daphne told Beth felt like a fantasy movie script to her, she sensed exaggeration but somewhere deep inside she believed her.

Exactly half an hour after taking off, Beth’s plane ran into severe turbulance – a significant rattling noise was heard in the fuselage and the passengers were told to fasten their seat belts.

Even after ten minutes, the plane was shaking terribly and people started panicking and praying while the kids started crying.

End it Beth, you can end it now!” a voice commanded her like a loud sound from headphones, but she wasn’t wearing any.

———-
The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of the story with E, the letter of the day (I have managed to do the same from B to D posts)! This is my fifth post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts that start with the letters A & B (B is when this story begins), C and D (list below).

I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:

A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

D for Discover a secret or live with the suspense

Darling, maybe you are just overthinking. Jean might be busy. He will call you back, don’t worry,” Cassie tried to convince Beth over the phone.

Do you think that I should visit him and explain that I didn’t overreact, that I really felt the worst sting ever? Cassie, trust me it was something else, my entire body felt like it was on fire and at the same time on an ice slab. It was the strangest sting, most painful… ever! I am telling you, something doesn’t seem right. Maybe I am becoming a spider-woman or something!” Beth had not lost her sense of humour though she was extremely stressed and scared.

Days passed, Beth never saw or heard from Jean again but she did complete her solo Europe trip while ensuring that she didn’t develop a liking for anyone.

Did she enjoy her trip? She sure did as she soaked in the romantic aura of France, the beauty of the Swiss Alps and the scenic Eurail journeys to Milan and Venice.

During her stay in all those lovely cities, she never felt that weird pain again, until the very last day when she was at the security check of the airport.

Damn, damn, damn… it’s killing me… help, help me” she screamed holding her right arm and cried in pain just as she collected her handbag after the security screening; poor choice of words at the airport.

Daphne, the security manager, rushed to Beth but something made her tell the staff that everything was fine.

Dear, that was just a cramp, right? My cousin gets it all the time with the heavy luggage and all. Let me help you reach the boarding gate,” Daphne said holding Beth’s arm and whispered to her to agree and move ahead.

Don’t worry, I have seen this happen before, with others as well. I saw you at Chef Jean’s restaurant the other day. It was you, wasn’t it?,” Daphne said as she got Beth seated at a cafe near the boarding gate.

Dealing with that torturous pain was one thing, it disappeared in a couple of minutes, but what this seemingly kind stranger told Beth scared her.

Discovering that someone acknowledged her weird pain, however, did put Beth at ease and she wondered if she could get some answers.

Dressed in the security uniform, brown-eyed Daphne did appear trustworthy and Beth decided to use the thirty minutes before boarding to understand what was happening to her.

Daphne laid a condition that she would share what she knew only if Beth agreed to give her hair sample for a DNA analysis; the clock was ticking and Beth had to decide immediately.

Discover the secret or live with the suspense? Beth chose the obvious.

———-
The story continues tomorrow in the next post. This is my fourth post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts that start with the letters A & B (B is when this story begins) and C.

I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:

A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z

C for Challenges, all sorts of them!

Challenge, you say? Of course, I’ll take it up.”

Carefree as she had become, Beth started loving the idea of taking up challenges; both that she took up willingly and the ones that life threw at her.

Challenges, after all, are part of our life cycle. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we grow and learn with them right from the moment we are born. It’s a challenge at every stage, small or big, but it sure is. Just look at each of these moments in our life cycle, that was a challenge, especially when we did it for the first time:

  • Planning to conceive a child or becoming a parent (either you are a parent or your parents are, right?)
  • Giving birth or adopting or choosing not to have a child. And all the situations around each of these scenarios.
  • The first steps, the first ride, the first time going to school, making friends, losing some.
  • Education and sports, winning some, losing some, but moving ahead.
  • The stressful and sometimes traumatic situations of our lives, going through them, rising above them, sooner or later.
  • Career, career changes, business – profits and losses.
  • Losing our loved ones or losing out on love, and taking up the challenge to get over with it as life has so much more to offer.
  • Ageing, illnesses and fighting to live till the very end.

Cassie, her best friend from school, once gave her the idea of going on a solo Europe trip!

Can I actually do it, solo travel is so challenging!” said Beth but Cassie knew that she would definitely go!

Cautiously, Beth gave in her papers after working in the same organization for four years, and decided to take a 2-month-break from her career for her dream Europe vacation followed by some more relaxed rime for herself.

Career break was never her plan, but then it was such a bold thing to do, so she did.

Calculations were done, bank accounts were cleared (except leaving some 200 dollars in savings), bookings were made, bags were packed, dreams were hugged and Beth took the flight to Paris… a solo trip sounded so exciting!

Croissants, baguettes, macarons, chocolates, ratatouille, crepes and coffee… Paris is a paradise for foodies and Beth sure did not mind putting on some weight while relishing the delicious treats!

Clearly, she was happy, genuinely happy within a week of her trip.

Chef Jean, who she had started liking, was thanking her for appreciating his cooking skills, when she suddenly felt that terrible sting on her right arm.

Confused after screaming a lot, she could not believe that nothing bit or hit her, even when the chef and many others in the restaurant tried to assure her that nothing happened.

Can’t you see I am in pain, look at my arm, it’s like the worst sting ever,” she cried and looked at her arm that appeared just fine – no mark, no redness, no swelling, and suddenly no pain.

What happens next? Just wait for the next post, that will start with the letter D. Did you notice that I started each sentence of this post with the letter C! Glad I could do that after the previous post of the letter B.

———-
This is my third post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous post thats start with the letter A & B (B is when the story begins; A is not a part of this story but I guess most of you will relate).

I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:

A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z